Today’s Scripture is Hebrews 3:6-19, 4:12.
‘But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. We are his house if we continue to come boldly to God. We must also hold on to the hope we take pride in. 7 The Holy Spirit says, “Listen to his voice today. 8 If you hear it, don’t be stubborn. You were stubborn when you opposed me. You did that when you were put to the test in the desert. 9 There your people of long ago put me to the test. For 40 years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with them. I said, ‘Their hearts are always going down the wrong path. They have not known my ways.’ 11 So in my anger I took an oath. I said, ‘They will never enjoy the rest I planned for them.’”… 12 Brothers and sisters, make sure that none of you has a sinful heart. Do not let an unbelieving heart turn you away from the living God. 13 But build one another up every day. Do it as long as there is still time. Then none of you will become stubborn. You won’t be fooled by sin’s tricks. 14 We belong to Christ if we hold firmly to the faith we had at first. But we must hold to it until the end. 15 It has just been said, “Listen to his voice today. If you hear it, don’t be stubborn. You were stubborn when you opposed me.” 16 Who were those who heard and refused to obey? Weren’t they all the people Moses led out of Egypt? 17 Who was God angry with for 40 years? Wasn’t it with those who sinned? They died in the desert. 18 What people did God promise with an oath that they would never enjoy the rest he planned for them? Wasn’t it those who didn’t obey? 19 So we see that they weren’t able to enter. That’s because they didn’t believe. (Hebrews 3:6-19)
‘God’s promise of enjoying his rest still stands. So be careful that none of you fails to receive it.’ 2 The good news was preached to our people long ago. It has also been preached to us. The message they heard didn’t have any value for them. They didn’t combine it with faith. (Hebrews 4:1-2)
Not only the writer encourages us to persevere, but to also mix with faith what we hear.
God’s Word + Faith = Changed Person
Changes that conform to God’s Word please Him.
A Chinese proverb says,
‘To know and not to do is not yet to know!’
Obviously when we talking about knowing God’s word we are meaning a divine revelation from God, a RHEMA in Greek.
‘Logos’ is the written word.
‘Rhema’ is God’s spoken word to us.
How do I get a RHEMA, from God?
a) Hunger for God and His righteousness
b) Read God’s Word with desire to obey
c) Pray in the Holy Spirit
Let us dissect and explore our text:
In verses 7-19, the writer warns us not to fall in the same traps as the Israelites.
Beware of failing as the Israelites did in unbelief and therefore disobedience.
That is: “Distrust of God, refusal to personally confide in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The writer refers to Psalm 95 describing the career of the Israelites in the wilderness.
They had been as a people:
a) Highly privileged for 40 years, saw God’s work. (verse 9)
b) Yet they were habitually faithless. They despised. (verses 8 and 9)
They despised the miracles – doubted and grumbled – fell into idolatry after they disobeyed God’s command.
c) They were hopelessly doomed, their bodies fell in the desert. (verses 11, 17, 19)
Retribution fell upon the entire generation. The writer in our text gives a clear warning that a ruin still more fearful shall be the portion of all who refuse or despise the Gospel spoken by our Lord Jesus!
Brothers and sisters, make sure that none of you has a sinful heart. Do not let an unbelieving heart turn you away from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12)
This exhortation is, in fact, the key-note of the whole letter to the Hebrews. Note how the writer pleads with the people, ‘MAKE SURE’, ‘TAKE HEED.’ The Israelites turned away from God. How could they? God was the only source of life and hope and eternity! Guard against the insidious, sinister, subtle, dangerous, advances of unbelief. Jesus said watch and pray. The Bible says,
Above everything else, guard your heart. It is where your life comes from. (Proverbs 4:24)
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13)
The idea here is the responsibility of the believers themselves in keeping their own faith alive.
Christians are associated in Church fellowship that they may promote one another’s welfare.
Friendly counsel and admonition are a valuable safeguard against apostasy.
a) Life is short
b) Sin is deceitful
Sin is sinking sand. Sin is like cancer. Sin is like couch grass. Sin is a deceiver – distorts vision, causes us to take false views of things, to lose our clear view of truth.
- Sin assumes attractive disguises.
- Sin gives rational plausible reasons.
- Sin makes procrastination reasonable.
This is why we need each other daily.
Our soul and eternity at stake!
Note daily: mutual oversight and helps should be continuous, steady and constant.
Sin hardens heart, our conscience.
- This happens gradually.
- Don’t think it’s just a slip!
- Moral insensibility is the result of a process.
- Hardening of the will against certain God’s commands.
- The effort to be and to do what is true and right is given up.
- Rejection of the Gospel of Grace.
- We no longer listen to our conscience!
- Despising and resisting Holy Spirit.
Continual refusal to hear God’s Word, to act according to God’s will, then:
a) Petrify into habits
b) The lead to disobedience
c) The form our character
A human heart hardened by unbelief will lapse either into atheism, or immorality, or settled worldliness therefore forever turn away from the living God.
A heart hardened by unbelief will descend into:
therefore turning away from the living God for eternity! That’s why we have the encouragement:
Brothers and sisters, make sure that none of you has a sinful heart. Do not let an unbelieving heart turn you away from the living God. But build one another up every day. Do it as long as there is still time. Then none of you will become stubborn. You won’t be fooled by sin’s tricks. (Hebrews 3:12-13)
Why Did Israel Fail?
1. Didn’t combine word with faith
2. Unbelief set in
5. Separated from God
The writer is telling us you are already there, therefore don’t move from it, and don’t let anyone else or anything else move you!
We belong to Christ if we hold firmly to the faith we had at first. But we must hold to it until the end. It has just been said, “Listen to his voice today. If you hear it, don’t be stubborn. You were stubborn when you opposed me.” (Hebrews 3:14)
If we want to be near God and inherit the rest we must:
a) Hear His voice. This will soften and strengthen our hearts. It will make us large – hearted as well as tender-hearted.
b) Continually refuse temptation to sin, turn to God.
c) Remain continually on guard against unbelief.
d) Keep on growing in love and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.’ (Hebrews 2:1-4)